Saturday, December 20, 2014

Last Opportunity to Fly in a Winter Blue Sky! Spirits UP! Top down!

Perhaps yesterday was last opportunity to fly in a winter blue sky! Top down, bundled and heater on high the afternoon was periwinkle perfect ... the reactions received from motorists and pedestrians ranged from disbelief to replete with whimsy. Many thanks to those of you who waved or snickered. I enjoyed you, too... and hope that there's one more lovely afternoon of serene skies before the year's through. Just does my spirits good to fly in skies of blue.

Copyright © Mick Huerta 2014. All Rights Reserved.
All Accordin' - Travel, Culture, Food & Drink!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Global Warming

In dried form, Habaneros cost $18.99 a pound in a little local Latin market. And being habaneros are rated at 100,000–350,000 on the Scoville Scale, my .38 cents worth (pictured above) will do wonders for global warming. Even rubbing my eye while taking this photo can't deterred me from saying, "Hot stuff, can't get enough." As an example of my mania, I put dried habanero in a small pepper mill I carry when traveling. It's the only way of insuring I can get my personal fill of global warming no matter where I roam...

I encourage you to drop into ethnic markets in your neighborhood. Find out what surprises they have in store for you. Imagine what just .38 cents did for me. 

Copyright © Mick Huerta 2014. All Rights Reserved.
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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Greeting the Sky - "HotList: South America" by Mick Huerta

A true wonder; the Salar de Uyuni is the world's largest salt flat, spanning 10582 km2 (4086 m2) located in southwest Bolivia. This is but one of the marvels playfully revealed in the photo-driven guidebook "HotList: South America" by Mick Huerta. "Go and know the best!"

Copyright © Mick Huerta 2014. All Rights Reserved.
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Photo credit: 1st image: Andrea Zoccoli. 2nd image BoliviaBella

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Quick and Easy - L'ail confit (garlic confit)

L'ail confit (garlic "con-fee") just in time for a change of seasons, even though handy any time of year. It's the "Quick and Easy" way of handling garlic and using it immediately in a large variety of recipes...

L'ail confit (garlic confit) 

1 cup fresh garlic cloves, peeled
Thyme sprigs (or Herbes de Provence)
2 bay leaves
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & peppercorns to taste
Red pepper flakes (optional)

Place all ingredients in a sauce pan and cover with oil. Bring to a slight simmer over low, low heat and cook until the garlic is golden, do not brown, approximately 40 minutes. Allow garlic and olive oil to come to room temperature while in sauce pan. Remove bay leaves and puree if you like. Keeps well in refrigerator.

As pictured I use an enamel camp cup, more vertical than horizontal. Makes for an easy move from stove top to storage in refrigerator. 

Garlic confit has a smooth cooked taste making it perfect for salad dressings, sauces, soups and marinades...

Copyright © Mick Huerta 2014. All Rights Reserved.
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Friday, September 19, 2014

The State of Mexican Food

Over the weekend, a recent arrival to Utah asked all BBQ guests in attendance “Where can I find real, authentic Mexican food in Salt Lake City?” In a flurry came suggestions from mom-and-pop locations to slick joints that dot the entire valley. I merely asked, “Where are you from?” “Colorado!” “So you’re looking for Colorado-Mex then?” “No, just authentic Mexican!”

Umm, authentic? Traveling Mexico teaches us that much like France or Italy all food is regional. So there can be no one authentic expression of a nation’s food, ever. No matter how hard we try to make a cliché out of a stereotype, you’ll not eat authentic. Yes it’s true that spaghetti, Quiche Lorraine and spring rolls are good starting points. But eating a cliché is not going to get you closer to what a cuisine is all about. Four thousand years of Chinese culinary history represented by day-glow Sweet & Sour Chicken is a disappointment. The Greeks, who taught the Mediterranean how to cook, really do offer much more than a Gyro (yeero). And Japan’s kitchen is undoubtedly more than a California Roll, etc.

Ponder Tex-Mex border fusion, then New Mexico’s mix of Spain, Mexico and indigenous sensibilities and then quickly skip to light, calorie conscience Cali-Mex. From the United States of Mexico to the USA, every plate is transformed into what the customer is willing to buy and happily consume. The story of a local Mexican restaurateur comes to mind who sold two Carnitas plates to-go. In the parking lot, the customers opened the containers and came storming back to complain about disgusting lumps of fat which turned out to be beautifully cooked plantain to pair with pork. One culture to the next, all foods must be translated or at least explained. Perhaps the above fiasco is an example of being all too authentic?

Continuing with the inquiry I asked, “What’s your favorite Mexican food?” “A Smothered Burrito! In Durango they do them the best!” “Man, have I got a restaurant for you! La Frontera is the bomb and they've several locations!” My brother, Joe Huerta, added his new funky fave is Chunga’s 180 S.900 West. Other’s felt free to share, too; Red Iguana! Tres Hombres on Highland Drive, taco carts downtown! Taco Time! TACO TIME? Came a reaction of genuine surprise.  “Ah, those crispy-fried bean burritos are killer!”

Lesson here is that if you enjoy it, it’s well worth sitting down and enjoying it to the fullest. No matter the version or from what state in the U.S. or Mexico it hails. One point of caution; Best to carry your own hot sauce cuz’ anything that you can squeeze out of a fast-food packet is not salsa! Asi es, amigos mios!

Copyright © Mick Huerta 2014. All Rights Reserved.
All Accordin' - Travel, Culture, Food, Wine!

Photo credits -
Achiote paste ingredients: Paul Goyette -

"Tortas Oaxaquenas" by nsaum75 / Wikimedia Commons
GrilledChickenZaachila: AlejandroLinaresGarcia

Monday, July 14, 2014

Fricot! An Acadian Tradition with Dumplings! - Belliveau Cove Farmer’s Market

"Go to Belliveau Cove Farmer’s Market", the local fisherman advised in English flavored with French. "Go get Connie’s Traditional Acadian Fricot" (pronounced free-coh).

What's Fricot? Amongst Acadians (the French) of Nova Scotia this thick chicken soup/stew with dumplings is a point of pride and one of the signature dishes of their community. And no better than when made by Connie Theriault at the Belliveau Cove Farmer’s Market every Saturday, all summer long.

Connie shared that the secret really is in the dumplings. They are translucent and an integral part of the flavor and texture. She confidently offers a sample cup to first-timers with good reason. One taste and you're hooked. The Fricot was far beyond expectations. Thick, luscious in the mouth and smooth on the palate. But it was the dumpling surprise that made the experience truly unique. We finished one portion and got another to go. Connie and her sister Simone, serving and smiling all along. Incredible! It was my first time on the scenic Evangeline Trail in Western Nova Scotia but the culture, the people and the Fricot will forever stand out in my mind!

Belliveau Cove Farmer’s Market is festooned with displays of jewelry, paintings, carvings, local photography, arts and crafts, basket weaving and stacks of gift ideas. Purchase locally grown organic produce, venison, or organic breads. Treat yourself to freshly baked sweets, jams and jellies... the experience is made even better for facing the Bay of Fundy but as the old Frenchman said, "Go to Belliveau Cove Farmer’s Market, go get Connie’s Traditional Acadian Fricot!"

Copyright © Mick Huerta 2014. All Rights Reserved.
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Benny's Famous Fried Clams - Portland Maine

 Yes, it's funky as a Clam Shack in Maine! And the locals like it like that! They're near the port but the prices are no where near what you'll pay at the tourist joints on the wharf. But to each their own. Some prefer cloth napkins and fancy flatware. So be it!

At Benny's you'll find native Mainers cooking it their way. And their way is a delicious no-fuss method of coaxing flavors out of local foods. If paper napkins and plastic forks don't get your knickers in a twist, then Benny's is for you. The Lobster PERFECT! The fried clams superb and the fries, we asked up front for crispy and got it. On a whim we'd ordered crab cakes. So good we ordered more! Being we had a case of wine in the trunk and Benny's has a BYOB license, we opened a few favorite bottles to augment the meal. No corkage fee and the waitress offered us glasses with a smile. Outdoor seating did not thwart the service and we found eating Maine's Classic Plates al fresco part of the picnicy charm.

Benny's? Well, we'll be back upon our return from the Maritime Provinces of Canada!

Benny's Famous Fried Clams
199 Commercial St, Portland, ME 04101
Tel - 207.774.2084

Copyright © Mick Huerta 2014. All Rights Reserved.
All Accordin' - Travel, Culture, Food, Wine!

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